When the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline debuted in 1983, a huge selling point was that the newly downsized Joe could fit it any of the wide selection of air, land and sea vehicles available on toy shelves. At that point in time, the jeeps, tanks and airplanes released by Hasbro were only slightly beyond real world technology, incorporating a little extra imagination and style for higher play value. But as the years went by, it became clear that G.I. Joe and their enemy, Cobra, were locked in an arms race to see who could amass that most senseless and wacky arsenal that money could buy. Practicality went almost completely out the window, and here are what we feel are the 10 worst offenders (most of them Cobra, of course) for vehicles that just wouldn’t cut the mustard gas in real world combat situations. Thanks to YoJoe.com for the images!
10) Silver Mirage
An inane mystery wrapped in lame-brained enigma, the Silver Mirage is a pearly plastic gray motorbike that can passably be marketed as silver, and is most definitely not a mirage, neither by camouflage or the speed possible when saddled with a clunky, weapon-laden sidecar that ensures this bike is always leaning to the left. Consider this a lesson learned: what garners excitement as a crotch-rocket capable of tearing up 1980s highways or a standout, low-priced item on toy store shelves doesn’t necessarily make for a smart choice on the battlefield.
This “mobile assault fort” is more like a “mobile assault mess of various land and air-based vehicles glued together,” aka “slow-moving target.” We’re pretty sure Hasbro just stapled all its unused vehicle designs together, told the factory to make the damned thing, and called it a day.
Look, we at Topless Robot are certainly not experts on aircraft propulsion. But is the miniature fan you keep in your work cubicle to keep cool and drown out your coworker’s annoying phone conversations with her two-year-old niece really enough to keep a bomb-laden airplane from crashing nose-first into the ground?
7) Cobra STUN
We know that Cobra finances could be tight at times, especially with accountants Tomax and Xamot actually paying attention to the books, but at some point the terrorist organization apparently had to start repurposing bumper cars for battlefield use. G.I. Joe was most certainly amused.
6) S.N.A.K.E. Battle Armor
Not technically a vehicle, but this mobile armor suit made for a fun accessory to trick out your G.I. Joe figures. You took the suit apart and snapped it piece-by-piece onto Duke or Voltar to turn them into unstoppable one-man killing machines on the battlefield. But in real life, this armor would turn you into a slowly lumbering target with no hands, unable to lift yourself or even look behind as you trip over a log, get stuck facedown in the mud and endure the enemy laughing at you, probably peeing on you, and then running over you with the nearest tank.
5) Cobra Battle Barge
“Battle Barge” sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? If you were a G.I. Joe soldier stationed at sea or on a coastline and heard that a Cobra Battle Barge was heading your way, you just might be wetting your Sgt. Slaughter Underoos. Then out of the horizon comes floating an awkward platform with no visible form of propulsion, weighed down by a giant array of radar dishes and three schmucks clinging for dear life to weakly mounted machine guns. That’s Cobra for you – all barge and no bite!
4) Destro’s Dominator
There is no doubt that Destro was the master of forging all kinds of futuristic weaponry that put Cobra at the forefront of international terrorism. The problem was when he tried to show off by cramming all of his amazing designs into one shambling, asymmetric monstrosity that he proudly employed as his personal chariot. The garishly-colored Dominator wants to be both a helicopter and a tank, and we’re pretty sure that combination doesn’t work. Anyone remember all those flying Panzers in World War 2? Neither do we.
3) Septic Tank
In the very early 1990s, Cobra shifted its war to not just focus on G.I. Joe, but the ENVIRONMENT! It was the age of Captain Planet, an era when the American public was starting to realize that filling the skies with pollution and the lands and seas with toxic waste wasn’t all that fashionable. So, Cobra decided to commit crimes against both Mother Earth and fashion by unleashing a toxic sludge-spewing version of its classic H.I.S.S. tank in a red and yellow “hot dog stand” color scheme. There were apparently no other, non-sludge weapons of which to speak, and the driver’s seat appeared to be protected by a yellow beach chair. While certainly not the most subtle or practical vehicle to have on a battlefield, we guess the Septic Tank was more about Cobra making a statement, and that statement was: “We suck.”
2) Cobra F.A.N.G.
A personal combat helicopter that sort of resembles your easy chair with rotors and missiles might seem like a good idea until you consider these facts: There is no canopy, no seatbelt, and razor-sharp blades are spinning around furiously only inches from the top of your skull. God forbid you’re tall or you stand up slightly to scratch your butt!
1) Cobra Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball
When you’re a Cobra soldier and get assigned a vehicle that sounds like it was made by NERF, it’s time to start worrying. The awkward Pogo literally bounced along the battlefield, nothing but a bubble-like dome and three precarious, insect-like legs protecting its pilot from certain, laughable doom. Honorable mention goes to the similarly ridiculous yet flying version of this goofball vehicle, the personal transport of Cobra Commander himself, the Trubble Bubble: